I’m making myself a challenge. The good kind where the goal is difficult but still maintainable with enough diligence. You’ve heard of the Hugo Awards? One of the top awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy literature? I’m going to read all of the books nominated for Best Novel, and any of their predecessors, before the winner is announced on August 11th.
And this blog will be my ramblings and thoughts of their contents. Spoilers will be notified when needed. But I was always a fan of reviews with spoilers too. I’ll have two reviews for each novel — one with no spoilers, and another that chunkier than three-month-old milk. There will likely need to be something to fill in between reviews. Look for other book reviews, previews before I enter the next book and maybe some classic blog-style lists.
Let’s take a look at what I’m getting myself into. The Best Novel nominations are as follows:
- All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders
- A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers
- Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
- Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee
- The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin
- Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer
Of those, three have at least one prequel in their series:
- A Closed and Common Orbit is preceded by
- Death’s End is preceded by
- The Obelisk Gate is preceded by
By my calculation, that’s ten books and over four thousand pages. The last time I read that many books in less than a year, my fifth-grade teach was baiting me with Dairy Queen certificates.
Before I begin though I’ll need to finish what’s on my plate. Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings is an anvil of paper. At just over a thousand pages, it’s a huge epic fantasy and only the first in a series of supposedly 9 more anvils. Try though I might to read it quickly, it takes forever to get through.
I’ve already started on Ninefox Gambit. It was on sale near the end of 2016 and I bought it on a whim. Turned out I got lucky in terms of this challenge. It’s being read in parallel to The Way of Kings and is likely the first novel crossed off the list.
Hopefully, you’ll be back to hear me break down each of the picks. I’m not look for the political meanings of the nominations nor will you hear me complain about the selections themselves. These authors put countless hours into writing these. I’m sure they are far more proud of these novels than I ever will be of finishing this challenge.
The goal — beyond just reading more — is to know how I feel about each candidate and who truly deserves the award. In the meantime, I’ll have some fun. Best character? Best prose? I hope to find out.